What Can You Do With an MBA?

Explore how a Master of Business Administration degree can propel your career forward.
Business administration students network at a St. Catherine University event

Some people may think that earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) prepares them for a specific career with a predictable job description. Unsure if the degree is the best choice for them, they may be wondering exactly what you can do with an MBA. The answer? A lot.

In August 2021, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) published the results of an 18-month survey that polled approximately 4,700 MBA graduates working in a variety of industries, such as products and services, technology, finance, consulting, government and nonprofit, manufacturing, healthcare, and energy.

GMAC reported that 87% of respondents believed that earning a graduate degree increased their employability, and 77% believed their graduate degree prepared them for leadership positions. Although the survey respondents worked in a variety of industries and their department functions varied significantly, from operations to human resources, a significant percentage believed that earning an MBA had provided them with an array of opportunities.

What Is an MBA?

A Master of Business Administration is a graduate-level degree that includes advanced coursework in areas such as accounting, finance, marketing, economics, leadership, and ethics. Although the number of credit hours required to graduate can vary depending on the program, most MBA programs, such as the online MBA program from St. Catherine University, require students to complete between 33 and 36 credit hours to be granted a diploma. Upon earning their degrees, graduates can pursue advanced roles in a variety of areas, such as finance, marketing, sales, technology, human resources, and healthcare.

Why Earn an MBA?

Earning an MBA can help open the door to a successful career in any of a number of industries. Furthermore, MBA graduates have a promising job outlook and high earning potential.

MBA Job Outlook and the Industries That Hire MBA Graduates 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment of all management professionals will grow 9% between 2020 and 2030. This forecast highlights a growing need for business leaders across all industries, and an MBA can improve an individual’s job prospects. While many individuals can find entry-level management positions with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree can set individuals apart and accelerate their careers.

MBA professionals work in a variety of fields, such as professional, scientific, and technical services; retail; information technology; and education administration. The top industries for MBA graduates include investment banking, private equity, consulting, technology, and energy, according to E-GMAT. 

MBA Salary  

An MBA can help candidates qualify for higher-paying positions. Payscale reports that as of May 2022, the median salary for individuals with an MBA degree was around $92,000, while the median salary for professionals with a bachelor’s degree was around $67,000. Salaries for MBA graduates vary based on a number of factors, such as the industry they work in, the company they work for, and their geographical region. 

What You Can Do With an MBA: 6 Examples of MBA Careers

MBA graduates have leadership capabilities and analytical thinking skills — qualities that translate to employment opportunities across industries. The comprehensive business and leadership foundation professionals establish in an MBA program prepares them to advance in a current role, start a business, move from the corporate to the private sector, change career fields, and more.

What are the career options with an MBA? The following six professional roles paint a picture of where the degree can take you, including positions in executive leadership and general management. 

1. Medical and Health Services Manager            

Medical and health services managers — also known as healthcare executives — work in hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing homes, residential facilities, outpatient care centers, and government organizations. They are responsible for overseeing and directing the services in their facilities. 

While medical and health services managers should exhibit business skills, they should also have an understanding of clinical practices. Their job duties include:

  • Ensuring the facility offers quality patient care 
  • Meeting with board members, top executives, and investors 
  • Overseeing financial processes, such as patient billing
  • Managing the budgets and schedules of different departments, such as surgery, ICU, nursing, and physical therapy 
  • Training and supervising staff members
  • Meeting with department leaders to set goals and make plans 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare field had a growing need for leaders to drive transformation. With a convergence of industry-changing issues (automation, data analytics, and a move toward outcome-based care), professionals who specialize in the business aspects of healthcare are more in demand than ever. 

2. Marketing Manager             

Marketing managers typically work for organizations that sell a specific product, line of products, or service. However, this doesn’t limit their options; they can work in a variety of industries, including hospitality, technology, fashion, education, beauty, entertainment, and manufacturing.

Marketing managers are usually responsible for departments or teams that create marketing strategies for reaching certain audiences and markets to sell a product or service. They identify the demand for an organization’s product or service; analyze the marketing tactics of competitors; and design a plan for establishing a customer base, maximizing profits, and making customers happy.

3. Financial Manager          

Another career option for those who want to know what you can do with an MBA is pursuing the role of financial manager. These professionals can work as controllers, finance officers, credit managers, risk managers, or insurance managers.

As business experts, financial managers are responsible for creating long- and short-term goals for a company’s finances. Duties include: 

  • Studying market trends to discover opportunities for growth 
  • Creating monthly or quarterly reports regarding business activities 
  • Meeting regularly with the company’s chief financial officer (CFO) 
  • Analyzing financial documents and reports to identify where to cut costs 

4. Management Analyst             

Management analysts can be self-employed; work in professional, scientific, or technical services; work in government organizations; or hold management positions in finance and insurance. They can serve as full-time or contractual consultants, offering professional advice about making strategies and solving problems. 

Management analysts meet with leaders of organizations to identify certain issues relating to finances, staff, procedures, inventory, or equipment. They identify specific problems and create practical plans for making improvements. Management analysts advise company leaders on implementing new systems, procedures, projects, or practices. Staying informed regarding changes and tracking them for progress is an important aspect of the job. 

5. Accountant              

Accountants may earn an MBA to facilitate a move into a senior or management role in accounting, payroll services, tax preparation, finance, or insurance, for example. They can work in offices and manage a team of individuals or be self-employed. Primary duties of an accountant include:

  • Ensuring the accuracy of financial records
  • Preparing and filing tax statements and returns
  • Finding inefficiencies and reducing costs
  • Consulting and communicating with corporate leaders

6. General and Operations Manager               

General and operations managers work as top executives in their corporations. In some organizations and businesses, a general and operations manager can also be the chief executive officer (CEO). Professionals in this occupation ensure that the various components of a business function correctly and that different departments reach their goals. 

Overseeing an array of activities — from supply chain management to legal policies — is the primary responsibility of general and operations managers. They manage schedules and budgets for projects and work with human resource managers to hire employees.  

Propel Your Career With an MBA

Students researching graduate degree programs will find that there are a wide variety of careers you can pursue with an MBA degree. Earning an MBA degree doesn’t place individuals in a box. In fact, an MBA provides them with an array of skills and equips them to pursue diverse career paths, from working as managers in large organizations or small businesses to starting their own companies. 

St. Kate’s online Master of Business Administration program prepares students with instruction in both leadership skills and business theory. Each of the program’s concentration options — healthcare, integrated marketing communications, and management — help graduate students learn how to approach different aspects of business in innovative and analytical ways.

If you want to learn more about what you can do with an MBA — such as pursue a career as a medical and health services manager, marketing manager, or management analyst — explore how St. Kate’s MBA can help you reach your goals. 

Recommended Readings

How to Become a Marketing Manager

How to Become a Transformational Business Leader

How to Find a Female Mentor in Your Profession



Graduate Management Admission Council, “2018 Alumni Perspectives Survey”

Indeed, “20 Best MBA Degree Jobs That Pay Well” 

National Association of Colleges and Employees, “The Difference a Master's Degree Can Have on Starting Salary” 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accountants

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Financial Managers 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Management Analysts

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Marketing Managers

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical and Health Services Managers 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Top Executives

U.S. News & World Report, “5 Hot Jobs for MBA Graduates”